Monday, February 21, 2011

Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter - NYTimes.com

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Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter - NYTimes.com: "Former bloggers said they were too busy to write lengthy posts and were uninspired by a lack of readers. Others said they had no interest in creating a blog because social networking did a good enough job keeping them in touch with friends and family."
The best the NYT could come up with:

  1. Bloggers are lazy, it's easier to post to the FB wall or to Twitter.
  2. FB does a good enough job in reaching friends and family.
From that they leap to the conclusion that blogs are waning. I imagine that in 3 months they'll write about how people are too busy to Twitter, after all, who has time to write 140 characters at a time? Maybe somebody is going to write an app that taps into your head and posts a stream of consciousness into your social media accounts of choice.

The reality of the matter is that a lot of the people that "blog" simply do it because it is the cool thing to do. A newer/cooler thing came up, so there is no need to blog anymore. There's also a group, myself included, that had been blogging since before blogging was cool. We couldn't care less about how cool it is to blog, we just do it. In my case, I have this urge in my head to write things down, and it is a reasonable medium. My blog pushes a notification to Twitter whenever I post, and my Facebook account (which I only keep because of family, so any friends I got there are just a convenience thing) pulls whatever I post to the blog. I don't like the Facebook part very much because people are too fucking lazy to even read the full post, and immediately jump to conclusions. At least with the Twitter notifications they are so short that all you get is the title, maybe part of a sentence and a link to finish it. In Facebook you get a fragment that may not even summarize what is going on.

People are lazy.

Do I love blogging? Not really. I love to write. Blogging is simply a tool that lets me dump my writings online with the least amount of hassle (it beats posting html articles by hand and updating navigation links every single time). This is exactly how blogging took off, because it took out the webmaster/designer out of the equation.

The second thing that made blogging cool was when Tumblr figured out two of the most important weak spots about "classic" blogging:
  1. Lots of people were reposting content, which is kind of a bitch.
  2. The standard format for a blog post only works well if you are posting a lot of text. If you are posting a quote, video or something else, it looks like crap.
Tumblr fixed the first issue by automating the process of reposting content, which is when "reblogging" became popular. Actually too popular, to the point that a lot of the activity that you see on Tumblr is basically people reposting each other's content.

Tumblr fixed the second issue brilliantly: they decided that you need more than one post type. To me this is the one thing where Tumblr murdered the competition. Posts for videos, pictures, etc. each are allowed to be styled differently, which lets the designer balance them pretty damn well. To this day I don't understand why Blogger hasn't borrowed/stolen this feature from Tumblr.

I was on Tumblr for a long time, but I decided to leave simply because Tumblr was collapsing under its own weight. I couldn't remember Blogger ever going down, but with Tumblr even going to the dashboard was an adventure, and a lot of people complained about not being able to reach one of my blogs. Since it was free, I had no relief except pack up my bags and move back to Blogger. Blogger is still free, but I never have to worry about the site being down. Tumblr, as great as I think it is, needs to figure out how to deal with their growth and pump some serious cash into infrastructure, because they risk pissing off their high-profile posters and one day they'll pack up and leave too.